News / Africa

African Leaders Urged to Meet With Diaspora

FILE - Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni arrives for the opening ceremony of the 22nd Ordinary Session of the African Union summit in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa.
FILE - Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni arrives for the opening ceremony of the 22nd Ordinary Session of the African Union summit in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa.
James Butty

An outspoken member of the African Diaspora has called on African leaders taking part in a Washington summit to meet with them.  

Chika Onyeani, publisher and editor-in-chief of the African Sun Times newspaper and chairman of the Celebrate Africa Foundation, acknowledged he’s not speaking for the whole African Diaspora.  

But, he said it remits an estimated $70 - $80 billion each year to Africa.

Onyeani said African leaders should give the Diaspora the same respect they give to other groups.  

In July, he wrote to African leaders calling for an African Diaspora Town Hall meeting in Washington during the summit, but received no reply.  

At the same time, he said, the African leaders attending the summit have made themselves readily available to organizations selected by the African Union office in Washington.

“Most of the time when they come they are always with the corporate people.  They don’t really take the Diaspora into account.  And, the thing is that the African Diaspora, especially continental Diaspora, is the most important constituency for the African presidents.  This is a constituency that sends $70 to $80 billion a year to Africa.  So, we are saying that they should be paying the same attention to us that they pay to all these corporate people who don’t contribute,” he said.

In his letter, Onyeani said the Diaspora was worried that the African leaders might ignore the Diaspora due to no fault of theirs while, at the same time, making themselves available to organizations such as the Corporate Council on Africa, which he says aims to profit from the African leaders’ visit.

“First of all, they are having a networking event on the 4th, which is $400 if you’re not a member of the Corporate Council.  And then, there’s a dinner for Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, which is $200, and there’s one for Ghana’s president, which is $200, one for the Kenyan president, which is $200, and there is one which is exclusive only by invitation alone for President (Teodoro) Obiang (Nguema) of Equatorial Guinea,” Onyeani said.

Onyeani said all of these fees, plus $100 for a ministerial networking, amount to $1,300.

He said, while a lot of Africans in the Diaspora can afford the amount, they would prefer to remit that money back to Africa to support some the world’s fastest growing economies rather than pay to see their own presidents.

He admits Washington is a city where business or diplomatic deals are sometimes made over dinner.

“We are not saying they should not do it, but what we are saying is that at least they should devote one or two hours to getting together with the African Diaspora, whereby the ambassadors should fund such a meeting. We should not be asked to fund it,” he said.

Onyeani proposed to the leaders that African Union chairperson and Mauritanian President, Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, to organize an African Diaspora Town Hall meeting to be attended by five heads of state chosen by their peers and representing the five regions of Africa.

But, Onyeani said his proposal never materialized.

“I called the Mauritanian Ambassador so many times. I left messages for him. He never returned the call,” he said.

Onyeani said some of the issues that would have been discussed would have included legal recognition of the African Diaspora as the Sixth Region of the continent and an appreciation and encouragement by African leaders for the role the Diaspora is playing as the “largest investor in Africa’s economy.”

He said Africa needs an African Diaspora-centered president like former Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade.

“When President Abdoulaye Wade would arrive in New York for the United Nations General Assembly meetings, while other African Presidents held their events in high-class expensive hotels like the Waldorf, his event would be held at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture on 135th and Malcolm X Blvd in Harlem,” Onyeani said in his second letter.

Butty interview with Onyeani
Butty interview with Onyeanii
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

 

You May Like

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid